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4 more Ukrainian children rescued from Russian occupation

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Save Ukraine, a Ukrainian humanitarian NGO, reported on Feb. 2 that it rescued four more children from Russian-occupied parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts.

Since February 2022, the Ukrainian government has identified over 19,500 children as abducted from Russian-occupied territories and sent to Russia, Belarus, or other Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine. Only 388 of them have been able to return home.

Children from parts of Ukraine that were occupied by Russia during the full-scale invasion have often been separated from their families as a result of hostilities and the inability to safely cross into the Ukraine-controlled territory.

The four children rescued on Feb. 2 are now safe at one of Save Ukraine’s facilities. The youngest is not even a year old, according to the NGO.

Read also: Explainer: What we know about Russia’s deportation of Ukrainian children

A new rescue mission by Save Ukraine is currently underway. The organization said it has already brought back 235 Ukrainian children from Russia and occupied territories.

Earlier the same day, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly arrived in Kyiv to launch a joint initiative to return Ukrainian children deported or forcibly transferred by Russia, among other goals of the visit.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution on Jan. 25 calling on European leaders to make all efforts to return Ukrainian children abducted by Russia home.

In March last year, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin over their role in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children.

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